I found a wonderful meme at Necromancy Never Pays, and I've been saving it for a rainy day. Ok, it's not raining at the moment; however, I need something to help lift the funk, and a visit with the Bard just might do the trick.

What was your first introduction to William Shakespeare? Was it love or hate?
It was 1974 in Mr. Capalungo's Freshman English class. Mr. C was quite the character with an amazingly snarky sense of humor. To prepare us for our first foray into the Bard's world with Julius Caesar, Mr. C "latinized" our names. The guys got "-us" added to their first and last names, while the girls got "-a" endings; thus for the entire first semester of the year, I was called Carleena Willetta. Mr. C always emphasized the final syllable of the names, irrespective of where the stress really belonged. He entertained us by performing "Singing in the Rain" in Latin, and acting out Caesar's death scene from atop his desk at the front of the classroom. I have to say that it was Mr. C's obvious love of Shakespeare that sparked my infatuation with the Bard.

Which Shakespeare plays have you been required to read?
Since my M.A. is in Renaissance Literature with an emphasis on the drama of the period, I have been required to read all of Shakespeare's plays at some point in my academic career.

Do you think Shakespeare is important? Do you feel you are a "better" person for having read the bard?
Yes, and yes! The main body of Shakespeare's work, the plays, are meant to be seen; I must admit to a preference for reading them, however. I take such pleasure in reading, processing, and analyzing the Bard's masterful use of language! With a printed copy of the play and a variety of colored pens in hand, I can get lost for hours in mapping connections, marking sibillants in the speech of villains, noting the meticulous and deliberate plays on words. Reading and analyzing Shakespeare has proven one of the best mental exercises in which I have ever engaged. As long as I am able to exercise the noodle and continue to make connections between the situations and characters that Shakespeare created to those I witness in my own life and times, I am definitely a "better" person.

Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?
Hands down, it would have to be Othello; however, A Merchant of Venice runs a close second. I pity and understand both Othello and Shylock. One of these days, I'm going to put in writing my theory that a careful study of these characters and the weaknesses that make them all too human could bridge some of the gaps of misunderstanding between East and West.

How do you feel about contemporary takes on Shakespeare? Adaptations of Shakespeare’s works with a more modern feel? (For example, the new line of Manga Shakespeare graphic novels, or novels like Something Rotten, Something Wicked, Enter Three Witches, Ophelia, etc.) Do you have a favorite you’d recommend?
Honestly, I don't pay any attention to the contemporary adaptations. At my daughter's urging, I did capitulate and watch Romeo and Juliet with DiCaprio and Danes; I hated it!

What's your favorite movie version of a Shakespeare play?'s a toss-up between Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet and the version of Othello with Lawrence Fishburn in the lead role.
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